O.N.

IMDb member since April 1999
    Lifetime Total
    10+
    IMDb Member
    20 years

Reviews

Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby
(2005)

Classic
Absolute Classic!! Accidentally found the first series of this one night after "At the Movies" on abc TV Australia and nearly wet myself laughing. Ended up watching the remainder of the series and then buying the DVD on mail order to see the episodes I missed.

With all the PC and Americanised crime dramas on TV, it's good to see something definitely Australasian on TV that's not afraid to bend the rules and deliver a few laughs at the same time.

Certainly could not be made in the US this stuff .... too much wit .... and sadly not sure us Aussies could either given the way our local television is going.

Hope to see series 2 on Aussie TV soon enough. BRING IT ON

Chinjeolhan geumjassi
(2005)

Another great Park Chanwook film
I'd say like many people, Park Chanwook only came to my attention after "Oldboy" picked up the grand prix at Cannes and subsequently managed a theatrical release in Australia (which I unfortunately missed). After collecting the "Oldboy" DVD on a sale rack, I was mesmerised by how professionally and beautifully constructed this film was, and consequently went and tracked down all of Park's previous impressive works on DVD. Furthermore, my eyes lit up when "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" was worked into the local film festival program this year as a replacement film!! "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" is a terrific film. It seems unfair that it will ultimately be judged against a masterwork like "Oldboy", which few films I have seen in recent years even rate remotely close to in beauty.

The third of Park's revenge films has Lee Young Ae (from JSA) as an antihero seeking vengeance on Mr Baek (the terrific Choi Min-Sik), who was responsible for her wrongful imprisonment and loss of her child to adoption. To tell much more would spoil the film but a complex non-linear plot which bears a certainly similarity to the framework of "JSA" gradually and grandly evolves. This is probably the only difficulty I had with this film, not from a complexity standpoint but in that it takes proceedings a little leisurely early on.

Plotting is not quiet as precise as "Oldboy" or even "Sympathy for Mr Vengeance" but in the end all the pieces fall into one coherent piece of bloody vengeance. Lee Young Ae is terrific (and stylish) in red eyeshadow as the film's centrepiece, while Oldboy's hero Choi Min-Sik and many other stars from the previous vengeance films fill many of the minor roles admirably.

From a technical standpoint, "Lady Vengeance" is as close to flawless as any film I have seen, and demonstrates why Park is one of the great directors in modern world cinema. The use of off-centre camera angles, piercing orange lights interchanging against dark snow-filled backgrounds, rapid-fire editing and a superb operatic music score with dark overtones in the harshest moments make "Lady Vengeance" a joy to behold. To see this in one of only 2 cinema screenings in my state I consider an absolute privilege. This is one film that gives life to Megaplex screens and sound systems! Now that his revenge trilogy is complete, I'm interested to see what venture Park Chanwook embarks on for his next feature. It will be difficult for anyone to live up to the talented productions Park has already directed, but heres hoping that he can continue to advance Korean cinema into our multiplex screens! "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" rates from me .......

8/10

Departure
(2001)

Short and Sweet
The Japanese film "Departure" is a timely reminder that a film about teenagers and their relationships need not be saturated with vulgarity to make an impression on viewers.

Three teenagers on the island of Okinawa are preparing to go their separate ways after finishing high school. The trio decide to split up on their last night together to tie up various loose-ends in their lives, mostly involving their partners/would-be partners.

What really makes this film work is the mature and honest manner in which director Yosuke Nakagawa portrays her teenage protagonists. Her three leads are genuinely concerned about the effects their life moves will have on those close to them. Unlike a large number of American films with similar themes, there are no high voltage hysterics, just a quiet sense of apprehension and fear, but at the same time hope and new opportunities. Also, at only 80mins of running time, "Departure" certainly does not overstay its welcome.

The most touching story of the three I feel is that of the young man with the older girlfriend. Despite their age and social gap (she is employed and pays for their holidays), both treat each other with a great degree of dignity and compassion. However, tonight he must break the news to her that he is dreading; that in under 24 hours he must leave her to go to Tokyo for further education for the next 4 years. The film's sympathetic viewpoint to both of these characters and their resolution is quite endearing.

Films like "Departure" are a real treat. A film involving youth which does not condescend to the typical stereotypes of teen film is a rarity in today's market, and for this reason "Departure" deserves a great deal of praise and wider recognition.

8/10.

The Navigators
(2001)

Honest, downbeat and entertaining
Ken Loach has crafted a fine socio-economic drama focusing on the privatisation of British Rail and its effects on the railway workers at the bottom end of the industry ladder.

With the privatisation of British Rail, chaos reigns down on a small depot of rail workers. These workers, through which the story is primarily told, are mostly struggling with their finances already, but are generally content with their existences. After privatisation, their depot becomes one of a number of competitors for the railside work and industry "buzz-words" such as efficiency, mission statement and voluntary redundancy start to creep in. Workers leave and those remaining face harder conditions with less safety and less security. On top of that, there is the ever-looming threat of being replaced with agency workers prepared to do anything for work.

Ken Loach revels in this working-class material, seamlessly combining both the political and personal struggles of his generally honest and decent team of railway workers. Yet despite its downbeat tone, there is a great deal of typically British humour throughout "The Navigators" which balances out proceedings very nicely. Much of this humour is obtained from the bantering back and forth between the railway yard lads, and the crude dialogue and jokes are a joy to behold. Check out the sardines in the chip-shop scenario.....terrific! (note for dvd watchers; check out the scene where the time-clock is stolen in the deleted scenes section. It's a classic!)

Also, it's good to see a film with such a serious content not overdo itself with a hefty running time. Clocking in at just over 90 mins, it's almost the perfect length to complement the subject matter.

"The Navigators" eventually builds to its inevitable miserable conclusion, which is its main downfall. Don't expect any uplifting "Full Monty" style endings here. However, this is still a fine piece of film-making. Maybe not as good as some of Loach's other works, but certainly worth a look for anyone who appreciates honest down-and-dirty tales and a British sense of humour.

7.5/10

Spy Game
(2001)

Average
Despite pairing together two Hollywood heavyweights in Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, "Spy Game" never manages to escape from mediocrity.

Redford and Pitt play CIA agents with Redford the experienced professional and Pitt his young understudy recruited during the Vietnam War. The duo fall out and separate during one of their assignments, until Pitt many years later blows one of his missions and ends up being thrown into a Chinese prison.

With Pitt set to be executed for espionage in 24 hours, it's up to Redford on hs last day before retirement (how many times hasn't that been used before???? ie Lethal Weapon 3) to save his former companion from the Chinese and the rest of the CIA who don't want to get involved.

It's fascinating to see the long winded plan Redford concocts from his office to save Pitt without his overzealous superiors finding out. Without a doubt, the unfolding of this plot is the highlight of "Spy Game". Unfortunately, in order to make this work, much time is needed to be spent on flashbacks showing the forging of Pitt and Redford's relationships, and their relationship with a mysterious woman (Catherine McCormack) who comes between them. After a while, this becomes downright tedious and is drawn out much longer than necessary.

Also a little difficult to ascertain is the motives of Robert Redford's character. At one point he shows little remorse in accidentally killing 70 civilians in order to complete a mission, but then gives up his entire retirement savings and risks possible litigation to save one person. Redford is nevertheless not too bad, and neither is Pitt despite little screen time, but a bit tighter scripting may have helped both of them elevate this film.

As a side note, although "Spy Game" is advertised as an action movie, there is precious little action to be seen. Director Tony Scott seems to be trying more to make a "thinking man's" flick, which is probably not his forte and doesn't particularly suit his stylised direction with fast forward sequences and drained out colours (very similar to the way his brother Ridley shot "Black hawk Down").

Overall, don't expect to see anything overly remarkable with "Spy Game". It's good enough to pass the time as a Saturday afternoon rental, but it certainly won't be a film you'll be discussing for days afterward.

6/10

From Hell
(2001)

Quite acceptable thriller
As far as thrillers go, there haven't been many worth watching in recent times. I'm pleased to say that "From Hell", although not perfect, is a neatly crafted and entertaining horror/drama/period piece.

I was a little surprised when this film was first released to find out that it was directed by the Hughes brothers of "Dead Presidents" fame. Although competent film-makers and better-than-average storytellers, I wasn't particularly convinced that they could recreate 19th century England and the time of Jack the Ripper without at least some American overtones.

Fortunately, they have reproduced this era in a very credible manner, with thanks to a number of their cast and crew. Cinematographer Peter Deming has created a claustrophobic and grimy London enveloped in sleaze and darkness and a sky that rarely seems to be anything but dull, even in the daytime shots. Veteran actors in the cast, particularly Ian Holm and Robbie Coltrane, add class to the production and Johnny Depp is probably the best choice out of Hollywood's younger male stars to play someone other than an American.

The only slightly negative thread is the casting of Heather Graham as a young English prostitute. She just doesn't feel that convincing in the part (especially beside her more experienced costars) but thankfully her role doesn't overshadow proceedings.

"From Hell" tells the tale of Jack the Ripper, who in London 1888, became one of the world's first serial killers, murdering a number of prostitutes on the east side of town. Inspector Johnny Depp, who has clairvoyant powers courtesy of his drug addiction, is hauled onto the case by baffled sergeant Robbie Coltrane. In his investigation, he is aided by prostitute Heather Graham, whose coworkers on the street seem to be turning up gruesomely murdered at an alarming rate. What follows is a dissection through the ranks of both lower and upper class London to eventually trace out the killer and his motives.

Saying much more about the plotline would reveal too much, but similar to David Fincher's "Seven", it is nice to see a serial killer actually given a personality and a reason (even if quite skewed) for their actions. On the downside, I was able to pick who Jack the Ripper was very early on and the ending does come across as somewhat contrived.

However, in a season of disappointing thrillers, "From Hell" is a welcome addition to the box-office. Although not a pure shock-fest (it is quite graphic and couldn't have been too far off an Australian R18+ certificate) it is a reasonably intelligent serial killer film for adults and certainly a change from all of the teenage slasher-flick clones which seem to be flooding the market.

7/10

Mulholland Dr.
(2001)

Mess
I can't understand how such an indecipherable mess could be so widely praised. "Mullholland Drive" is the kind of film which gives arthouse cinema a bad name. It contains all the standard cliches that scare the general public away from films of any diversity or originality ie a muddled plot, weird self-consciously "arty" sequences and of course a generous helping of sex (between two women of course).

I won't bother writing a summary of the plot here because the premise of the film is written any number of times on the adjacent pages. For about 2/3 of the film, things cruise along ok, seemingly gearing towards a resolute conclusion. All of a sudden, logic and common sense disappear completely out the window. What follows is a number of quite distinct scenes, most of which don't clearly follow the preceding scene and quite often don't fit with any other scene before or after in the movie.

Now I'm all for films leaving open ends for audiences to derive their own conclusions (see the Australian film "The Interview" for a clever example of this), but there needs to be at least some framework for conclusions to be built on. After viewing "Mullholland Drive", I came up with about 3 or 4 different interpretations of the events in the film and how they fit in together. However, not once could I piece together all the strands of the film without there being at least 2 or 3 sequences/loose ends which just meant absolutely nothing and could not be tied to any semblance of story. Ultimately, this vague construction left me frustrated and annoyed (and by the looks of it, I'm not the only one).

On the positives, "Mullholland Drive" does look and sound terrific. There are some excellent sweeping shots through the hazy LA suburbs, combined with an admirably moody and atmospheric score. Performances from the cast are uniformly excellent, which is all the more impressive given that character motivation must have been somewhat difficult to ascertain at times. Billy Ray Cyrus, of all people, has a neat cameo and the three main performers (Laura Harring, Naomi Watts and Justin Theroux) all deliver exemplary performances.

In fact, the one reason I'm glad "Mullholland Drive" received such critical recognition is that it may catapult Australian actress (well, almost, I think she was born in the UK) Naomi Watts back into Hollywood and hopefully into films more substantial than "Tank Girl" (Even though I quite enjoyed that film!).

To wrap it up, I would be curious to see if director David Lynch could actually decipher this film himself (Note: absence of director commentary on DVD). Although this is purely speculation, it almost feels like "Mullholland Drive" is an unfinished project ie building to something which it didn't turn out to be so left vague and incomplete. Who knows?? I must admit, I have not seen any of David Lynch's previous works, but apparently they are renowned for being similarly skewed in design and adored by critics. Which then begs the question; Would "Mullholland Drive" have got such good reviews if it was directed by someone else???

4/10

Jurassic Park III
(2001)

"Compact" Fun
If I had to describe "Jurassic Park 3" in one word, I think "compact" would be the most appropriate word. With a run time of barely 90 minutes, the tiniest of plots and an almost smaller cast group, I could hardly think of a more appropriate description.

In all honesty though, taking a "compact" approach to this film was probably a better idea rather than producing another overblown, over-long effort like "The Lost World".

Let's face it, these films are never going to be oscar winners (except maybe for technical awards). They are just meant to provide sheer thrills and cheap, unchallenging entertainment. Without any meatier content, the best way to provide this is to keep it short and sweet and get us out of the cinema before the monotony of rampaging dinosaurs sets in.

"Jurassic Park 3", in a nutshell kicks off with Sam Neill's character from the first film heading back onto another dinosaur island with assistant Alesandro Nivola and ex-couple Tea Leoni and William H. Macy. The latter grouping's young son has been stranded on the island for 8 weeks after a hang-gliding accident and for some reason they believe he can survive this long against mobs of man-eaters. With a bit of "coaxing", our resident dino-duo end up joining them.

This is where plotting ends. It doesn't take long for everything to go sour and before you know it everyone is alone in the jungle with more lurking predators than Arnie would ever be likely to face. From here on there are more loud shocks and close calls than you could imagine, with a large array of old faves and new dinos slicing and dicing from every direction.

These setups are always what make the "Jurassic Park" films, and because this one keeps it so "compact", these moments aren't spoilt by unnecessary plotting, grandiose speeches or techno babble. All we are left with is the sweet dessert minus the distraction of the main course.

In terms of cast, the four above-mentioned big names aren't really necessary, although they do have a pile of fun running around screaming and doing their best to attract dinosaurs. Everyone else is (unsurprisingly) dinosaur fodder and usually disposed of in inventive manners. What more could you ask for??

On the down side, there is some sensationally dismal dialogue ("you're just as bad as the people who made these dinosaurs") and the effects, although not terrible, don't have the same awe-inspiring quality as the same film.

Still, as far as blockbusters go, "Jurassic Park 3," thanks to its "compact" production style, generally hits the spot in entertainment value. The conclusion seems to hint that more is to come too. I guess the producers don't believe that the "compact" idea that worked so well here applies to the rest of the series. Time will tell I guess.

7/10

Friday the 13th Part III
(1982)

Dreadful
"Friday the 13th Part 2", to my surprise, turned out to be a pretty enjoyable piece of schlock. So much so, that I even fronted up to the video shop and hired part 3 hoping for another hilarious Jason rampage. Right now I wish I hadn't.

"Friday the 13th Part 3" is one dreadful film. As soon as you hear the twanging disco music over the opening credits you know you're in for a bad night in front of the box. Picking up straight after Part 2's night of carnage, a group of campers (or something like that) head out into a farm/camp thing in Jason country for some weed-smoking and more sex.

The characters this time aren't the typical mob of teenage jocks as per the first 2 Friday's. This time, apart from the teens, we have a college geek, 2 hippies, and a really sad looking bunch of bikies. Sounds promising, but these guys aren't interesting in ths slightest. Annoying is more like it, and I was praying that they'd be mown down pretty quickly, but alas, Jason takes his time to get things going.

From here on, things travel along much like the last 2 entries in the series. Campers get randy and are picked off one-by-one in the usual disgusting manner by a (this-time) hockey mask clad Jason Voorhees. Unlike part 2, the death scenes are incredibly boring and come about very suddenly with no tension or buildup (much the same way part 1 did). Not only that, they look incredibly fake. Watch for eyes popping out, arms being hacked off and a harpoon through the head for prime examples of this.

Speaking of fake, get a load of the flashback sequence towards the middle of the film. This was meant to be a serious scene, but some of the worst acting you'll ever see turns it into one big joke. I think this was about the only time I laughed (or even smiled) the whole time during this piece of trash. Sure, nobody expects oscar-winning performances from these flicks, but there's got to be better than this.

And finally, what is it with the vague endings in this series? Setting up for a sequel is one thing, but did they really have to rehash the same thing as the previous films? Worse still, this time the ending defies logic completely if you've seen part 1 and 2, and if you haven't, you'll be wondering what on earth is going on.

This was a big disappointment for me. I hope part 4 reverts back to the gratuitous sex and violence and campy fun which made part 2 very bearable... and please, no more bikies.

2/10

Arlington Road
(1999)

Dull and Murky
"Arlington Road" would have to rate as one of the most lacklustre thrillers I have seen in the last few years. I don't quite know how this film is holding down a user rating over 7/10.

Jeff Bridges plays Michael Faraday, a suburbanite who lectures on terrorism at the local university. He is a widower who lives with his young son after his FBI agent wife was killed in a siege gone wrong. While driving home one day, he notices a boy walking down the centre of the road. When he stops to investigate, he notices the boy has suffered severe damage to his arm courtesy of a fireworks accident. After rushing him to hospital, Faraday eventually meets the boy's parents who live just over the road from him. Gradually they become friends, but things start to turn sinister when a few shady details of the father's (Tim Robbins) past begin to emerge. Not only that, but Faraday begins to suspect his homely neighbour might be a terrorist bomber, and that he might be planning a local job some time in the not-so-distant future.

The storyline, although it probably sounds promising from the above summary, is strictly by the numbers and completely uninspiring. The plot twists are highly predictable and the characterisation, particularly that of Michael Faraday, is downright unbelievable. Sure, Faraday lectures in terrorism and with the recent death of his wife, it would not be unreasonable for him to be a bit on the paranoid side, but for him to suspect his neighbour is a terrorist because he gets the wrong mail every now and then is just plain ridiculous. It doesn't help that Bridges gives a completely over the top performance as Faraday, a man prone to fits of roaring anger and manic depression. In the end, it's really hard to feel any sympathy for him due to this reason alone. Robbins is better as his creepy neighbour, Oliver Lang, but his character could have been fleshed out a bit more too.

At several points too, the film tries desperately to drum-up suspense by throwing Faraday and his college student girlfriend into increasingly precarious positions. The problem is, they are handled in such a routine manner that you can guess exactly what is going to happen and these situations just turn out to be downright annoying. On a positive note, the ending is certainly not your typical routine Hollywood happy ending, and this is one of the few pluses in the film.

Finally, the one thing that really irritated me about "Arlington Road" was the direction and cinematography. I can't remember the last time I saw a big name film look this bad. The persistent use of shadows (even in broad daylight) and the hazy texture to the images is absolutely not necessary. I assume this camerawork was used to give the film a mysterious aura, but it doesn't and it just makes "Arlington Road" look plain ugly. It would have been far more appropriate to use colour and bright images to act as a contrast to the evil present in the neighbourhood (much like "American Beauty" did). Also, there are far too many close-up shots and quick cuts. At times I felt like I was watching "The Blair Witch Project" rather than a big budget film. There is also an awfully presented slow motion sequence towards the end which I guess was meant to generate suspense, but it is so poorly done and inappropriately timed that I almost ended up laughing.

All in all, I was very disappointed with "Arlington Road". It annoys me that with all the wealth in Hollywood, films this ugly and this poorly scripted are still being produced. Good thing I only payed a few dollars to see it on video. I would have been more than a touch annoyed if I dished out $10 to see this trash at the cinemas.

3.5 / 10

Chung ngon sat luk: O gei
(1994)

OK action thriller from Hong Kong
"Organised Crime and Triad Bureau" is another modern-day cops and robbers movie from Hong Kong. It focuses on the efforts of cop Danny Lee (also seen in "The Killer") trying to catch syndicate boss Tung (Anthony Wong aka the arms dealer from "Hard Boiled").

Naturally there is a little more to the story than that, including a romantic side plot for Tung, police corruption and dishonesty, as well as the involvement of internal affairs and Lee's superiors. However, it's the cat and mouse between the two leads which takes centre stage.

OC&TB is not a perfect movie by any stretch. It does take its time getting started, there is a long sequence on an island which becomes a touch boring after a while and the romantic plot is never particularly engaging.

Despite these faults, OC&TB does have a number of points in its favour which makes it reasonably entertaining viewing. There are several decent plot twists to keep the viewer guessing (although some are rather predictable), the cast give pretty convincing performances and the occasional injection of humour into the very serious story makes for a good change of tone. The sequence at the beginning where Lee and his cops tell off internal affairs and hide the blood stains with a cup of tea is particularly memorable.

Also, OC&TB has a quite good climax which should leave most viewers satisfied. This foot chase and shoot out through the crowded streets of Hong Kong is well staged and nicely captured by director Che Kirk Wong (who has since directed the Hollywood film "The Big Hit"). Although it's not a patch on the hospital shoot-out from "Hard Boiled" (how many are?), it's still the film's greatest drawcard in my opinion.

In summary, OC&TB is an OK film which should please most HK action fans, although it's not going to rival the best works of John Woo.

6.5 / 10

Lethal Weapon
(1987)

The Best of the Lethal Weapon Series
Lethal Weapon is typical of the tough hard-nosed action films of the 80's and is a great piece of escapist mayhem.

The story, penned by action specialist Shane Black, involves suicidal cop Riggs (Mel Gibson) teaming up with by-the-books family cop Murtaugh (Danny Glover) to combat a nasty drug syndicate headed by baddies Gary Busey and Mitch Ryan.

Although the premise is nothing overly original, it provides a great springboard for what makes this film really work -- the interplay between the two vastly different lead characters and the top-notch excitement-filled action pieces.

Gibson and Glover work very well together, and unlike the other Lethal Weapons where the humour comes from specially scripted jokes or characters (eg. Joe Pesci), this Lethal derives its humour from the situations these two cops keep getting stuck in. For instance, Riggs as the suicidal cop (resulting from the recent death of his wife) has no fear and just walks head first into dangerous situations. It's a real laugh to see him doing his job because you just don't know what he's going to do next. The drug deal at the start where he plays three-stooges with the dealers and gives them 100 bucks for their stash is a fine example and is bound to raise more than a few smiles. Later he teams up with good cop Murtaugh and more mayhem ensues as these two adjust to each other's methods of policing. But in the spirit of all these types of movies, they end up being the best of pals and team up to really make the villains pay.

The villains here are the best out of all the Lethal Weapons, with the exception of Jet Li in no. 4. Gary Busey gives one of his best performances as ex-mercenary "Mr Joshua" who now finds drug dealing a profitable pastime. The final fight between Joshua and Riggs is a highlight and apparently took 4 days to shoot. However, there are many other adrenalin-charged sequences between cops and scumbags including an explosive bus crash and a chase down Hollywood boulevard with the bare chested, machine gun packing Riggs going all-out to do his job.

In summary, this is a great combination of action and comedy which is not seen in the more politically-correct action films of the 90's. Clearly the pick of the Lethal Weapon series and one of the best cop films of the 80's!

8.5 - 9 / 10

'A' gai wak
(1983)

OK but not Jackie's best
Many people will disagree with me, but this isn't one of Jackie Chan's best films. On the other hand, it isn't one of his worst either.

Chan plays a marine policeman in early 1900's Hong Kong (I think) who's trying to round up a notorious clan of pirates, in particular their leader; pirate Sam (or so the version I saw called him). This plot, though, is really just an excuse for a whole bunch of fights, stunts and comic situations.

Anyway, Project A started off fairly well with some great fights, a rather unique (and highly entertaining bicycle chase) and Chan's trademark super-stunt (a fall from the top of a large clock tower with only a few awnings to stop him breaking his neck). The training camp sequence also provided a few decent laughs, especially the situations involving disciplinary procedures, grenades and showers.

But it's the second half where this film starts to lose it. This pretty much coincides with the introduction of the pirates. The pace really slows down, the quality of the fights drops markedly and the whole thing really starts to drag. It just didn't feel like the same movie any more.

Anyway, Project A is still worth watching just for the first half. If you want to see a Jackie movie that delivers the goods for its entire running time, try Police Story or the more recent Who am I? Hell, I even thought the Canton Godfather was more entertaining than this. But, don't take my word for it, many Chan fans have loved this movie (as evidenced by the 8/10 user rating) So if you're interested, give it a look. You might even like Project A.

6.5/10 (in my opinion)

Executive Target
(1997)

Pretty Lame
This movie had promise. Unfortunately, it's let down by a lame plot, bad acting and a very cheap, made for TV look.

The movie centres on stunt car driver Nick (Michael Madsen) who is sprung from jail (after being wrongly convicted.... surprise!) to drive the getaway car for a bunch of crooks who intend to kidnap the president and sell him to the highest bidder.

Unfortunately, this somewhat original idea, and the talents of Madsen and Roy Scheider (as the president) are ruined by poor execution and plotting. The story fails to explain adequately what the military has to do with everything, the constant presidential speeches have no real point in the plot and Madsen's character is sometimes made to look like a sincere guy and at other times just like the money hungry thieves he supposedly detests.

The car chase sequences, which could have been exciting, simply come across as silly because of ultra slow motion shots and cars that begin to explode before they've even collided ! The villains hideout also looks like some cheap leftover from the original Star Trek series.

And finally, the acting itself is generally quite poor, particularly the bad guys (Angie Everhart is NOT an actress). Even Madsen, who I thought was great in "Donnie Brasco" and "Reservoir Dogs" seems to be coasting along for the ride, although this could be partly attributed to the lame dialogue his character has been given.

All in all, "Executive Target" is about what you'd expect from a cheap made for TV movie, which is a pity really because there is definite potential here.

4/10.

As Good as It Gets
(1997)

Over-rated Rubbish
I'll never understand how this movie got so many good reviews. This is nothing but bottom-of-the-barrel-stuff with a glossy Hollywood touch. It has no plot. It simply goes through a whole heap of boring stuff 3 incredibly boring characters put up with in their lives. The interplay between these 3 characters (Jack, Helen and Greg) is so false and put on nobody in their right mind could mistake it for real life. Jack is the only person who deserves some credit for his performance but he's done much better and his character is not worthy of any actor of his stature. Helen Hunt is simply appalling as the whingeing single mum. Her character is completely obnoxious and hard to have any compassion for despite the problems she is facing. When acting becomes too hard for her, she simply takes to flashing parts of her anatomy across the screen. Greg Kinnear likewise does nothing in his role and although not as annoying as Helen's waitress, still seems like he's just tacked into the story (if you'd call it that) for no apparent reason. But the thing that really drove me to hatred of this film is the ending. Jack and Helen were at each other's throats literally 2 minutes before the ending credits but they still somehow get together for a supposedly romantic and happy ending. At this stage I walked out of the cinema unable to believe what I just saw. I'll never understand the mindset of film critics when they can praise trash like "As Good As It Gets". By the looks of some of the other user comments here, I'm not the only one who feels this film is highly over-rated. 3/10 - (and 2 of those are for the dog)

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